Learn more about ways to save on your energy bills. Our home improvement articles contain topics on plumbing, heating, air conditioning and home performance.
One of the easiest things you can do to help your wallet and the planet out this summer is to try adjusting the temperature on your water heater. Your water heater might seem unrelated to keeping you cool, but it’s a big part of your home’s infrastructure and can help you cut down on energy use during this peak energy-consumption season.
Not sure how to do adjust your water heater or how to set the best water heater temperature? This guide shows you how you can complete this small fix yourself.
In winter, we keep the windows and doors shut, run the furnace all the time, use our fireplaces and create really dry air inside our homes. That warm and toasty home feels good when it’s cold outside. But here are some signs the air in your home is too dry:
Given the dirty nature of bathrooms, and toilets in particular, all homeowners want to find fast and easy ways to clean in these spaces. That’s why many choose to use the drop-in toilet cleaners that often come in the form of bleach-chlorine tablets. These tablets may seem like simple solutions, but they are often more […]
JoAnn McElhany is the friendly voice that our customers enjoy speaking with when calling our office. In addition to filling her responsibilities as Service Manager, where she handles technician scheduling, orders, parts, deals, warranties and customer relations. JoAnn also ensures that employees and their families are well-informed and taken care of. She often acts as […]
The answer? It depends on your situation. Systems made of duct board, flex duct or lined metal duct cannot be cleaned effectively without dismantling the duct and cleaning them by hand. For homeowners with metal ducts, quality contractors have machines similar to enormous vacuum cleaners that are attached to the supply and returns. The process […]
This is a continuation in a series where we talk about what our Good Natured Technicians look for when testing your home systems. Our focus today is on your oil heating system. First, our technicians test the thermostat and replace the batteries if necessary.
This is a continuation in a series of four posts where we will talk about what our Good Natured Technicians look for when testing your home systems. Our focus today is on your gas heating system. First, our technicians test the operation of the thermostat and replace the batteries.
“Hutch” is another one of our “Good Natured Guys” here at Summers & Zim’s. Always one to bring a smile to everyone’s face, Hutch genuinely enjoys being an HVAC Technician and doing work for our valued customers.
As summer nears and people start to feel the effects of allergies, asthma, and sinus infections, folks are trying to beat the symptoms and enjoy the warmer weather. This year, Pennsylvania is experiencing a “pollen tsunami,” which researchers attribute to delayed tree growth and development due to a late spring after extended cold winter weather.
This is the second in a series of four posts where we will talk about what our good natured technicians look for when testing your home systems. Our focus today is on your air conditioner. First, our technicians will test the operation of the thermostat, and if necessary will replace the batteries for optimal performance.
Water heaters are changing and we want to make sure you know! In April 2010 as part of the NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act), the US Department of Energy mandated that certain household appliances meet high standards for energy efficiency. As of April 16, 2015, all water heaters manufactured in the United States must […]
This is the first in a series of four posts where we will talk about what our good natured technicians look for when testing your home systems. First up is the heat pump. A heat pump is similar to an air conditioner in the way the refrigerant absorbs heat and releases it into a specific […]
Troy Brown has worked at Summers & Zim’s for over a decade, and has the distinction of the most experience in different positions within the company. Troy started in sales, and then transitioned to the field where he worked in the installation department, installing furnaces, air conditioners and anything in between.
Your maintenance checkup includes: Tagging of the emergency shut off valves in your home Carbon monoxide check Water heater sediment inspection Water pressure test Water test (hardness, iron, pH) Test operation of sump pump Inspection of the toilet tanks for leaks and flapper operation Faucet inspection for leaks and drips Drain inspection Outside faucet inspection […]
Jesse Brubaker is one of the newest additions to the Summers & Zim’s family, serving our customers’ needs for the past three years. Jesse is a NATE certified technician, which means he is well qualified to work on any type of HVAC equipment. When you see Jesse, he tends to have a rather large smile […]
The technicians here at Summers & Zim’s take carbon monoxide very seriously. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that may take place in many types of heating systems that exist in our homes. When not properly maintained, your furnaces, boilers and some water heaters can begin to leak this gas into the surrounding rooms […]
As we approach the heating season, would like to take the opportunity to share with you one of our top service technicians in the HVAC field: our own Geoff Hurley. Geoff has worked at Summers & Zim’s for the past 30+ years, delivering quality workmanship and excellent customer service in every home he visits. In […]
On the hottest days of the summer, Service Membership customers at Summers & Zim’s can rest easy. First, your equipment is inspected by our certified professionals using a 42-point checklist during your annual maintenance visit.
Next weekend is Memorial Day and the start of the summer vacation season. If you’re going away for a long weekend, or in planning any vacation this summer, be sure the plumbing and AC in your home is prepared for your vacation too.
We’re all happy to see trees in bud or blooming after the long winter. But with those buds and blooms comes the spring pollen season. For many people this is the start of a variety of allergies and increased breathing problems, sneezing, and watery eyes.
When demand for service is high, such as it was this past winter when so many people needed service on their heating systems, those customers with service contracts go right to the top of the list. If you don’t have a service contract with us, call us now at 610-593-5129.
The recent summer-like weather is a great reminder that now is the time to get the annual service done on your air conditioning system. Without a service to keep it in top condition, your AC could lose 5% or more of its cooling efficiency when you turn it on.
If you have an imbalance in air flow in your home, if the temperatures in your rooms are uneven, if you have excessive humidity or dust, or have problems getting rid of odors and smells, call us about Aeroseal.
If you want to see a big improvement in preventing loss of hot air in cool months and air conditioned air in warm months through leaks in your ducts, the new Aeroseal duct sealing process can do that for you. This is the most effective, affordable, and reliable method available for stopping air duct leaks.
It was a wet winter, and so far it’s been a wet spring. To be sure your basement stays dry this spring, be sure your sump pump is in good working condition.
If you’ve seen the TV commercials for the Kohler Moxie shower head, and you want something to sing about, give us a call. Our plumbers can obtain and install it for you.
With snow in tomorrow’s forecast it seems like this winter just won’t end. When you look at your heating bills you realize just how expensive this long winter has been. If it has you thinking about replacing your existing heating system before next winter, here are the average energy costs of the four most common […]
Did you know that just .04 of an inch of dust on your heating coil can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system by 21%? And, if that amount of dust builds up on your fan the loss of efficiency is almost 50%. Heating systems have been working harder than ever this past winter, which […]
When an appliance failure causes a toilet, washing machine, or dishwasher to overflow, are you ready for a plumbing emergency? It’s important to get the water flow stopped immediately then clean any water on the floor before it causes major damage. Here are a few tips.
The good news is that the snow is melting and we’re seeing some 50-degree temperatures! But when rain comes with the snowmelt, be sure all the water has some place to go instead of inside your home.
When temperatures get above freezing and the snow melts, there will be a lot of moisture in the ground. If we have a rainy spring along with the snow melt, there are sure to be a lot of wet basements.
The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is right on target when it comes to having a service contract for your plumbing and HVAC. At Summers & Zim’s a service contract means that all your equipment gets checked and routine maintenance is done so you don’t have to worry about […]
With the heavy amounts of snow this winter, we already know we’re in for a soggy spring. As all the snow melts the ground gets over-saturated. Water from melting snow on the roof will run through downspouts and can pool along the foundation of your home where it can seep into your walls and cause […]
For months your home has had no fresh air. Sub zero temperatures and heavy snowfalls have had us all keeping windows and doors tightly closed. During that time odors from cooking, dander from pets, and everyday dust and dirt have all been affecting the quality of your indoor air. It may be many more weeks […]
If you have a propane tank, be sure you don’t damage it when clearing heavy snow. Do not push snow off the roof onto the propane tank. The weight of the snow can damage the pipes and fittings, causing gas leaks.
Consumers are being hit with a double whammy this winter. Prices for natural gas are up as much as 13% and electricity is up about 2%. Heating fuel is about the same, but is still one of the most expensive fuels. As these prices increase, so has fuel consumption due to a colder than average […]
How many devices do you have plugged in at your home right now? The average household keeps 40 or more appliances, lamps and electronic devices plugged in all the time. Each of these is using electricity, even if they are turned off. In severe winters, such as the one we’re experiencing this year, if each […]
Power supply interruptions can happen in winter due to high winds, freezing rain, or sleet that brings down power lines. Most disruptions are usually fixed within hours. To remain comfortable in your home during a failure make these preparations.
The extended cold has caused a huge demand for emergency heating repairs and heating system replacements. Our techs are working night and day to take care of customers. It occurred to us that we should take time to thank those customers who didn’t have emergency heating repair needs this winter.
Most dogs like to frolic in the snow and eat the snow! But the harsh winter and low temperatures can be dangerous for our dogs. To be sure your dog stays healthy this winter here are some the things to do.
As we spend more time inside our homes in the winter, with doors and windows tightly closed, we become more at-risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Because the potentially lethal gas is colorless and odorless, you may not realize you are being exposed to it. Here are the symptoms.
It’s never too late to take preventative action that protects you from having your pipes burst in cold weather. Take advantage of milder winter temperatures to have us come do an at-risk assessment of your pipes.
The sub-zero temperatures we’ve seen this winter have gotten a lot of our customers asking us at what temperature are their pipes vulnerable to freezing? While there isn’t one specific temperature that affects all pipes for all homes, most pipes become vulnerable when the temperature is below 20 degrees.
There is still a lot of winter weather to come, and being without heat in the winter is something you want to avoid. Did you know that up to 75% of the time the major cause of “no-heat” emergency calls the lack of ongoing maintenance and service?
As I write this, the outside temperature is 9 degrees. Our colder-than-usual winter has created a tremendous demand for emergency services as older furnaces breakdown due to the increased energy demands and pipes freeze and burst. Our service technicians at Summers & Zim’s are working around the clock to do repairs or replace heating systems.
In water emergencies, such as burst pipes, the first thing you should do is shut off the water. Does everyone in your house know where the water shutoff valves are for outside faucets, water to bathrooms and kitchen sink/fridge, water connections at the washing machine, at any water filtration systems, and the main water flow […]
New Year’s eve is a big party time, and at this time of year people often have candles burning to add to the festive atmosphere. Over the last 10 years, fires caused by candles have tripled, so here are some tips to keep you safe.
Christmas trees are an important part of our holiday traditions. But they can also be a source of holiday disaster. Christmas tree fires are still common. The leading cause of Christmas tree fires is the lights, cords, and plugs.
We hope you and your family have a joyous holiday this year. As you celebrate, entertain, and enjoy the season with family and friends, remember that we at Summers and Zim’s are available, even on Christmas Day, if you have any kind of heating or plumbing emergency.
December is the start of the peak season for house fires. More house fires happen in December through February than other months of the year. Heating equipment is the leading cause – mostly from portable or fixed space heaters.
The outside vents for your furnace are most often placed either on your roof or on the side of your home above the exposed foundation wall. Both places have the potential for getting snowed-in during heavy winter snows. It’s important to keep them clear of snow so they can vent properly.
Bathroom remodels are one of the most popular home makeover projects. With the average cost of a remodel at $18,000, and many costs topping $35,000, it is easy to get caught up in the fun decisions such as colors, countertops, flooring, tub/shower space, etc. But it is important to know how your remodel ideas work […]
In a recent survey conducted by the online decorating website, Houzz, readers chose the bathroom as the room in the house where they would most want to add another TV. That’s just one of the many trends in bathroom makeovers.
Windy winter days are when you really notice where your energy leaks are. If your curtains and blinds billow or your shutters rattle on windy days it’s a sure-sign that you are losing a lot of heat.
Now that winter weather has arrived, you’ll begin to notice if your furnace seems to be working overtime to maintain heat in your home. If your heat pump cycles on and off too often, and you know your filters and blower are clean, then the problem could be with your thermostat.
As we think of the many things we have to be thankful for this year, we want to thank you, our customers, for choosing us as your plumbing, heating, and cooling service, and allowing us to work in your homes. We also are thankful for our dedicated and skilled employees who work every day to […]
This week brings the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holidays. At Summers & Zim’s we all plan on enjoying the holidays with our families, just as you do. However, we will have a staff of plumbing and heating technicians on call during the holidays and the holiday weekend.
Did you know that more garbage disposals break down during Thanksgiving meal preparation than any other time of the year? With all the potato peels, vegetable and fruit trimmings, and other organic food wastes we create preparing Thanksgiving dinner, the garbage disposal works overtime.
It’s that time of year when family get-togethers and holiday parties mean that your plumbing, especially your toilets, will get more than normal use. A little prevention now can save you from the holiday calamity of malfunctioning toilets.
Many of the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning aren’t much different than common everyday ailments. If you get any of these, or especially if you get any combination of them, it is always better to be safe.
The number of carbon monoxide poisonings increases as the temperature decreases. Because the gas is colorless and odorless, you can be exposed without realizing it. Carbon Monoxide is the leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in the world, and Pennsylvania has more unintentional poisoning deaths than any other state. Don’t take chances.
With shorter days and cooler temperatures, you no longer need to water your lawn and plants. Now is a good time to disconnect your outside hoses to store them in your garage or basement until next spring and prepare your outside faucets for winter.
Most of the points in our 5-point guarantee are about what we’ll do if there is a system failure or breakdown of any new equipment we install. But the point that customers love best is our point #4.
Halloween brings out the inner child in all of us. More than 70% of adults plan to engage in Halloween fun this year. Each year spending for adult Halloween parties is higher than the year before. Halloween parties are a great way to indulge in some good fun for a night.
You may have heard our radio commercials that mention how Summers & Zim’s technicians are “the good natured guys.” We started using this phrase to describe our service after a customer said it to us.
Are you aware of the many things you can do to minimize your energy usage and make your home more energy efficient? Because October is National Energy Awareness Month, it’s a good time to do an energy audit of your home. Here are things to check.
As colder weather arrives and days are shorter, we keep doors and windows closed and spend more of our time indoors. If one person in the household starts coughing or sneezing, that close proximity to each other makes it much more likely everyone will be exposed to airborne germs. An Air Scrubber can make a […]
Most people assume it is OK to put banana peels, orange rinds, apple peels and other fruit trimmings down the garbage disposals. Lemon rinds are a real favorite for the garbage disposal because they make it smell good. However, if you’ve been putting lots of fruit peels and skins into your disposal you may have […]
Warm weather in October means the stink bugs are active. But when the temperatures drop from warm to cold, they’ll invade your home seeking out warm places to stay for the winter. Chances are you’ve seen these pests on your screens and windows. Use these tips to be sure they stay outside.
As the weather transitions from hot to cold, it’s time to do an evaluation of your home to be sure your heating system can work at peak performance this winter.
Moen is broadly recognized as the leader and innovator in creating beautiful faucets and plumbing fixtures. That’s one of the many reasons Moen is the line we carry and use in our customers’ homes. Moen sets the fashion trends when it comes to home hardware.
It used to be that all consumers cared about when they called their heating/cooling company was that someone answers the phone and gets there as soon as possible. Of course that is still most important to consumers. What has changed, however, is that consumers now want HVAC providers who are trained in being home comfort […]
Everyone loves to talk about the weather. Recently, we’ve heard the same report from several different people that there’s a prediction we are in for a colder-than-normal winter this year with above-average snowfall. If that prediction becomes true, it is more important than ever to be sure your heating system can keep you warm all […]
If you have an old furnace or boiler that is no longer functioning efficiently, now is the right time to get it replaced. If we need to change or re-do the duct work for a new heating system it could take several days. That means you have no heat or air conditioning during those days, […]
Many people are unaware that gas ovens can release carbon monoxide into their homes. Feeling drowsy after a big oven-cooked meal may not be due to how much you eat, but to an exposure of carbon monoxide. The only way to be sure your oven isn’t a culprit is to have it tested.
Ragweed is the most common culprit for fall allergies. The pollen is airborne when the plant flowers, and that can cause runny noses, watery eyes, scratchy throats, sneezing, allergy-related headaches, and asthma attacks.
The acronym NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. It is the leading non-profit certification program for technicians who work in the heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration service industries. To be certified a technician must pass rigorous industry tests that measure their knowledge and competence for all types of HVAC equipment and systems.
What makes consumers unhappy with their plumbers? At the top of the list are:
Labor Day is when we all start to transition our thinking from summer to fall. Schools are back in session, stores are stocked with fall decorations and clothes, and despite the still-warm daytime temperatures, it gets dark earlier and evenings get chilly. This is also the time when we start scheduling heating system services to […]
If you have a gas furnace/cooling system, and you hear a bang each time it starts up, you may have a problem with delayed ignition. It could mean the crossover tube alignment is off or that your igniter needs replaced.
The hurricane season has started. One of last year’s major storms, Sandy, hit in November, so the next three months are critical in being prepared if a storm hits here. One of the first things to put in place is an emergency back-up system for your sump pump.
Last May we installed a new Carrier high-efficiency gas furnace for a customer who wrote and told us that after a year of use, she has seen a huge reduction in her home heating and cooling costs.
In many communities homes are mandated by law to have garbage disposals to help deal with the more than 31 million tons of food scraps waste created each year. The most environmentally friendly way to get rid of food scraps is to compost them. But many people have no space to make compost, they don’t […]
When it comes to refrigerators, the trend today is for the high-tech looking, smooth sleek designs of brushed stainless steel. The most popular features are energy-saving LED lights in the fridge, separate temperature and humidity controls for every drawer, exterior drawers for frequently used items, in-door ice/water systems, and spacious bottom freezer drawers.
If you drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, and you’re drinking tap water, do you know what you’re drinking?
When you think of environmental pollution, the quality of air inside your home may not be something that comes to mind. But it should be! It’s one of the top 5 health risks identified by the EPA. To reduce air pollution in your home you need to start at the source.
When you think about the efficiency of your home cooling/heating system, it is usually about how well it maintains the temperature in your home. But staying cool or warm is only the beginning of what a system should do.
Last week was a scorcher for us, with temperatures above 90. If you’re wondering how that compares to previous summers, here are some facts.
When you’re in the middle of a summer heat wave it’s hard to think about needing more heat. But this is the perfect time to take care of projects that can make your home warmer in winter.
With summer temperatures sizzling in the 90s, and summer humidity just as high, your AC system is running hard to keep your house cool and comfortable all day. At night you can give it a break.
Gutters are especially important in summer when thunderstorms bring torrential rain and heavy winds. Debris from plants, landscaping and trees can quickly blow into piles at the bottom of your downspouts.
It’s a fact. We wash our sheets and towels more often in summer. We also wash our clothes more often. In summer our washing machines perform heavier duty than any other time of the year. Washing machines have lots of parts that all have to be in great working order.
When the weather is hot and humid, your Air Conditioning runs constantly. That’s when filters can get dirty fast. A clogged filter can freeze your AC system, shutting it down when you need it most. Here’s how it happens.
As you get ready to leave on vacation, be sure your home is ready for your vacation too. You don’t want to return to find that an in-home disaster happened while you were away.
When hot, humid weather gets here this summer, here is one thing you can do to stay cool while you sleep without running your AC.
As your shrubs and trees get full, lush, and dense during the spring, and new growth starts to shoot out, be sure that plants aren’t too near your AC compressor. This is especially important if you’re doing new landscaping.
When you have friends in for summer cookouts and outdoor fun, remember to close up your house to keep it as cool as possible without using energy to run your AC.
One of the leading causes of air conditioning leaks is a faulty seal or hose. The back and forth expansion and contraction during operation puts wear on these parts. Eventually they decay and your unit doesn’t work efficiently, or stops working altogether.
Just because you changed the air filter on your HVAC system at the start of summer doesn’t mean that new, clean filter will get you through the entire season. You should check the filter after 30-60 days of use. There are lots of pollutants in summer air that can make your filter get dirty fast.
During winter and cooler spring months refrigerant can slowly leak from your HVAC unit. You want to have your refrigerant level checked and topped off before hot weather arrives. Failure to do this can make your unit work harder or cause it to freeze up from overworking on hot, humid days.